holders (e.g., community advocates, academic institutions, health-care providers), to inform them about community benefit standards and to build awareness that placing a priority on diversity and cultural competency programs is a societal expectation of all institutions that receive any form of public funding.
Several mechanisms offer promise to increase the general public and key stakeholders’ understanding of the need for and benefits of greater diversity among health professionals. This kind of understanding is necessary in order to effectively develop and implement institutional and policy-level strategies to increase diversity among health professionals. Implementation of these strategies should begin with efforts to collect data and conduct additional research to assess diversity among health professionals and in health professions education and to further identify the benefits of diversity for health care service delivery. Educational initiatives should begin with health professionals, HPEIs, and the communities that they serve. Other stakeholders—including business and corporate leaders, community and grassroots groups, organized labor, policy makers, and elected representatives, among many others—should also be involved in diversity efforts, specifically by forming broad coalitions to advocate for policies to enhance diversity. Several innovative examples of such efforts are underway nationwide, and should be expanded.
Recommendation 7-1: Additional data collection and research are needed to more thoroughly characterize URM participation in the health professions and in health professions education and to further assess the benefits of diversity among health professionals, particularly with regard to the potential economic benefits of diversity.
Recommendation 7-2: Local and national efforts must be undertaken to increase broad stakeholders’ understanding of and consensus regarding steps that should be taken to enhance diversity among health professionals.
Recommendation 7-3: Broad coalitions should advocate to vigorously encourage HPEIs, their accreditation bodies, and federal and state sources of health professions student financial aid to adopt policies to enhance diversity among health professionals.